What is Formative Evaluation?

Formative evaluation is to assess the progress of a project/program during development to increase its efficiency, effectiveness, and success.

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Formative evaluation is a type of evaluation that assesses the development or progress of a project, program, or product to improve its effectiveness. It is done during the development process to provide feedback and make necessary changes before the final product is released. Think of it like a teacher checking your progress in a class to help you do better on the test at the end.

Formative Evaluation

What is the purpose of Formative Evaluation?

The purpose of formative evaluation is to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and, ultimately, the project or program's success.

Formative evaluation allows individuals, organizations, or teams to assess their work and make adjustments as necessary before the final product or outcome is presented. It provides the opportunity to identify and address any challenges or issues early on, allowing for more effective and efficient problem-solving.

It can take many forms, including self-reflection, peer review, expert review, or observational data collection. The specific methods used will vary based on the type of project, goals, and audience.

Overall, formative evaluation is an important tool for improving the quality of projects and programs. It helps individuals and organizations monitor progress and improve to meet their goals and objectives. This leads to better outcomes and a higher level of success.

How can it improve teaching and learning practices?

Formative evaluation is a useful tool for teachers to assess their students' progress. It allows teachers to evaluate students' understanding of a lesson and improve their teaching approach. This helps to ensure students are effectively learning and achieving their goals. For example, asking questions during the class or giving quizzes to see if the students are keeping up. Based on the results, the teacher may adjust how they present the information to meet their students' needs better.

Similarly, it can help students see their progress and understand what they need to work on to improve. This can be in quizzes, assignments, or group discussions. When students receive regular feedback on their work, they can adjust their learning strategies to understand the material better.

In addition, with the rise of e-learning, formative evaluation can also be helpful in online learning environments. E-learning standards, such as SCORM, can track students' progress and provide regular feedback, allowing for adjustments in teaching approaches and student learning strategies. By incorporating formative evaluation into e-learning, we can create an effective and engaging virtual learning experience for students.

Challenges in Formative Evaluation 

Formative evaluation can sometimes be challenging because:

  • Time: It can take time to assess progress regularly and make changes, which may take time to fit into a busy schedule.
  • Resources: It can require technology, materials, or additional staff, which may only sometimes be available.
  • Reliable data: It can take time to gather accurate and reliable data to assess progress.
  • Objectivity: People may have different opinions on what is working well and what needs improvement, making it difficult to agree on changes.
  • Resistance to change: Some people may resist making changes, even if they need improvement.

How to design a Formative Evaluation plan?

Designing a formative evaluation plan involves several steps:

  • Set clear goals and objectives: Define your purpose with your formative evaluation plan.
  • Identify what data to collect: Decide what information you need to manage to assess progress towards your goals and objectives.
  • Choose appropriate evaluation methods: Based on your data needs, choose the best evaluation methods to gather information, such as surveys, observation, or focus groups.
  • Determine who will be involved: Decide who needs to be involved in the evaluation process, such as teachers, students, or experts.
  • Plan for data analysis: Decide how you will analyze the data you collect and who will be responsible for it.
  • Create a timeline: Set a timeframe for conducting the evaluations, analyze the data, and make changes based on your results.
  • Implement the plan: Follow the steps of your project, conduct the evaluations, analyze the data, and make changes as needed.
  • Review and adjust: Regularly review your formative evaluation plan to ensure it works effectively.

By following these steps, you can design a formative evaluation plan that helps you monitor progress and make improvements to achieve your goals and objectives.


Formative evaluation is a process of regularly assessing the progress of a project, program, or product while it is still in development. It aims to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and success by identifying and addressing early challenges or issues.

It can take many forms, including self-reflection, peer review, expert review, or observational data collection. In education, it can help teachers and students see their progress and make changes to teaching and learning approaches.

However, it can be challenging due to time constraints, resource limitations, difficulty gathering reliable data, subjectivity, and rigidness. A formative evaluation plan should be designed by setting clear goals, identifying data to collect, choosing appropriate evaluation methods, determining who will be involved, planning for data analysis, creating a timeline, implementing the plan, and regularly reviewing and adjusting it.

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